Gov. Jan Brewer took the stage Thursday with rocker and restaurateur Alice Cooper to persuade Arizonans that dining out is good for the state. Announcing a three-month public-awareness campaign called Dine 4 AZ, they said going to restaurants supports businesses and helps preserve jobs. Brewer noted that restaurants generate 10 percent of Arizona's tax revenues.
"We are working hard to lead the Grand Canyon State forward and out of this recession, and Dine 4 AZ fits perfectly into our plan," she said. "Please treat your family to a meal and we'll get through this together."
It is just seriously freaking frustrating to see the government spend my money promoting other people's businesses. And since when has dining out been a sign of patriotism? Why is buying food from a restaurant more stimulative than buying food from a supermarket? On the plus side of all this is the spectacle of politicians taking the stage with Phoenix favorite son Alice Cooper to make a policy speech. The only thing that would be better would be for the governor to appear with Phoenix-area resident Jenna Jamison to promote the, uh, stimulative effect of spending an evening at your local strip club.
Postscript - by the way, there is almost no point in challenging the numbers in such a stupid article, but I will bet anything I own that restaurants do not generate 10 percent of Arizona's tax revenues. Update - In fact, based on this report, restaurants were 9.4% of sales tax collections which in turn are 61% of major state taxes, which makes restaurants and bars about 5.7% of state tax revenue, which I will admit is higher than I would have guessed but still well off the number in the article.
Update #2: OK, I am probably overworking this, but the same report referenced above showed Arizona individual income taxes dropping 32.4% in 2009, presumably due to large drops in income. However, sales taxes only dropped 13.9% in that period. And within sales taxes, restaurant and bar sales taxes only dropped 5.8%. I say only, because except for some stable utility and telecom categories, this is the lowest drop of any business sector subject to sales taxes. General retail down 12.2%. Amusements down 8.1%. Hotel/Motel down 11.9%. So, in response to the down economy, the state government has thrown their weight behind shifting business to... the single retail category that has been least hurt by the recession.